Thursday, 23 January 2020

who gives a damn about an oxford comma

We really enjoyed these pedantic punishments meted out for linguistic sins by John Rauschenberg, especially those condemned to Limbo by dint of an over zealous auto-correct, the separate hell for abusers of apostrophes, other casters of aspersions and the below bit of compulsive preciousness:

Second Circle: 
The Serial Comma 

One half of this circle is populated by souls who are cursed to make arguments that nobody cares about except their own mothers, howling gorgons and the infernal mistresses of hell. The other half are cursed to make arguments that nobody cares about except their own mothers, howling gorgons, and the infernal mistresses of hell. The difference between these two situations seems to matter a lot to both halves. Neither side will listen to you when you suggest that they could avoid this level entirely.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020


Civil registries in China plan to work overtime on the upcoming palindromic date February second (20200202) which are generally regarded as auspicious times (see also) to accommodate higher than usual demand for wedding ceremonies, but this day especially so as said together in quick succession, two-zero sounds like love-you in Mandarin. Though some administrators are urging people to shelve their superstitions and focus on a harmonious marriage in practical ways, the demand for certificates is expected to be similar to January fourth of 2013—the singular date going down as Love You Forever day—again due to a phonetic likeness.

catch and kill or inquiring minds would like to know

The United Nations has appointed special rapporteurs to investigate the apparent spear-phishing attack on the mobile phone of a titan of industry (and newspaper owner) by a member of the House of Saud and heir apparent to the throne (who ordered the brutal murder of a dissenting correspondent of above media outlet) which seems to have put the private life of magnate into the hands of the Saudi intelligence apparatus, including incriminating evidence of an extra-martial affair.  It is intimated that the Saudis then leaked these compromising photographs and texts to a rival media outlet (which first threatened blackmail), a no-account tabloid that published the salacious details. No ally of Trump, who seemed to revel in his the break-up of his marriage and had generally obsessed over his wildly successful business model and critical reporting on him, the yellow press in question has been supportive both of Trump and the Crown Prince and has a record of burying or altogether quashing stories unflattering to either.

agnus dei

Reminiscent of another recent case of restoring the artist's original vision after an intervening conservator had “fixed” it for them, Saint Bavo’s Cathedral of Ghent has just unveiled the newly returned to its original state altarpiece (Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, Het Lam Gods) created by Jan and Hubert van Eyck in the 1420s. This masterpiece, one of the most stolen in art history and considered the first major work executed with oil paint is a polyptych consisting of twelve panels and foldable wings—and in the centre lower register portrays a lamb sent to sent to slaughter—ecce agnus dei qui tollit peccata mundi, “Behold the Lamb of God who bears away the sins of the world.”
The revealed eyes and nose, however, after much research and consternation, are distinctly not ovine but rather uncannily human. The old look was a bit toned down but the van Eyck brothers’ vision wasn’t exactly terribly off-putting or haunted either. Perhaps public reaction is compounded by the reception of the rotoscope adaptation of Cats in theatres over the holidays that made people lose their minds.


kórsafn: Björk collaborates with an technology company to produce background music that changes with the weather and seasons

de arte gymnastica: Ask the Past prescribes an exercise regimen from a 1560 volume

: a centenary celebration of filmmaker Federico Fellini

langmuir waves: a sonic sample of the solar winds

blogoversary: Boing Boing enters its third decade for the second time (see also about its earlier incarnation)

godunov, badenov: the Russian succession crisis and the curious case of the false Dmitris

how to teach your cat to do tricks: uncovering the art studio behind WikiHow‘s signature illustrations, via Super Punch

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

a guide to wildflowers at speed

We appreciated this field guide that implicitly urges one to stop a smell the roses and examine, frame by frame at the glimpses into Nature that we’re afforded, even when they’re passing us by in a blur. Like other manuals, varieties are classified by the colour of their blooms and time of year they go to flower but are portrayed as a patch on a roadside verge would look zipping past. Like Birds through an Opera-Glass (one of the first in its genre, 1890 by Florence Merriam), what other subject is often seen from a skewed perspective, the Solar System galloping past warp speed ahead?

Monday, 20 January 2020

unearthly delights

From the nonpareil Everlasting Blört and the site’s ever growing Stable Genius archives we are acquainted with another rendition (see previously) of Trump world executed in the style of Old Dutch Master Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych from Cold War Steve. As repulsive as this fevered depiction of Hell is, it is worthwhile dissecting the details nonetheless—like the sheet music branded on the backside of the tortured soul that Junior is gleefully pointing out is actually a coherent and playable melody. Be sure to click through for many more modern and medieval Easter eggs.